Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Blast from the Past

Picture says it all really. I only managed to see three of these : (

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wednesday 30th March 2011

Thanks to John Olley for todays sightings;

Castle Lake
1 Whooper Swan, 40 Sand Martin, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 70 Curlew, 10 Redshank, 38 Golden Plover, 10 Pied Wagtail, 14 Meadow Pipit, 3 Reed Bunting, 16 Lesser Black Backed Gulls, 6 Oystercatcher.

Some of the growing number of Pied Wagtail around Castle Lake yesterday.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

It's no secret.....

....that Great Crested Grebe are stunning birds.

Tuesday 29th March 2011

An increase in hirundine activity this afternoon brought on by the overcast showery conditions saw 30 Sand Martin feeding low over Castle Lake, these were joined by an early House Martin hawking insects over the field with the cattle in.
Others at Castle Lake included Great Crested Grebe numbers of which continue to fluctuate, back up to seven today, eight Little Grebe involved in a major and noisy dispute, 1 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 5 visiting Mute Swan which were eventually bullied into submission by the resident pair and departed to Stoneybeck Lake, 1 Shelduck, 3 Shoveler, 1f Goosander, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, and at least 15 Pied Wagtail around the sewage works.

The A1 Flashes held 2 Shelduck, 50 Wigeon, 1m Shoveler, 2 Redshank and the Green Sandpiper.

Along Foumarts Lane were a single Mistle Thrush and a singing Chiffchaff.

Pegs on a washing line, or some of this afternoon's Sand Martin taking a well earned rest.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Monday 28th March 2011

A very respectable total of 61 species were seen today between Mike Passant and myself including the following;

Castle Lake
6 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Little Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 5 Shelduck, 4 Shoveler (3m1f), 3 Goosander (1m2f), 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 20 Lapwing, 4 Snipe, 10 Redshank, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 9+ Sand Martin, singing Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Linnet.

A1 Flashes
2 Grey Heron, 2 Shelduck, 7 Oystercatcher, 115 Curlew, 2 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, a singing Chiffchaff and 2 Common Buzzard which flushed many birds up towards Castle Lake including 60 Greylag Geese.

Bird of the day, the first returning Little Ringed Plover in the sun at Castle Lake this morning.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Saturday 26th March 2011

Birds sen today included the following;

Castle Lake
6 Great Crested Grebe, 6+ Little Grebe, 2 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 4 Shelduck, 1m1f Goldeneye, 1f Goosander, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 4 Oystercatcher & 10+ Sand Martin.

The two Cormorant at Castle Lake today.

A1 Flashes
Common Buzzard chased by crow's towards Hardwick Hall, Green Sandpiper & 40 Curlew.

Stoneybeck Lake
2 Little Grebe, 2 Shelduck, 14 Shoveler (11m3f), Common Buzzard, 2 Oystercatcher & a Chiffchaff singing nearby.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Swan Lake

Couldn't resist another picture of Saturday's Whooper Swan herd on Castle Lake.
34 of the original 52 remained into Sunday.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Monday 21st March 2011

Amongst the regular wildfowl and waders on Castle Lake this morning were 2 Dunlin and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, while one female Goldeneye remains. Kestrel and Sparrowhawk overflew. Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail numbers are slowly increasing with seven of the latter on Castle Lake with further birds on the A1 Flashes and Alan's Pool.

100 Curlew were on the A1 Flashes.

4 Chiffchaff were singing in the Fishburn Lake area alongside Bullfinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.

Frog spawn on Fishburn Lake.
A few Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were on the wing as was a Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Super Whooper

Some of today's visitors. (52 is a new site record for Whooper Swan at Castle Lake).

Saturday 19th March 2011

On Castle Lake this morning were 52 Whooper Swan, 49 of which arrived from the south @ 09:15am and all were still present @ 12:30pm.

Some of this morning's Whooper Swan herd flying through the Castle Lake overhead before turning into wind for landing. A magnificent sight on a glorious morning.

Other birds of note on the lake included 4 Mute Swan, now 8 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Dunlin and a Common Buzzard drifted over from the south.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Friday 18th March 2011

Thanks to John Olley for today's report;

Castle Lake
3 Pair of G C Grebe and Little Grebe, 2 Barnacle Geese, 40 Curlew, 4 Oystercatcher and regular wildfowl and waders, 3 Meadow Pipit displaying and 20 Skylark singing and interacting.
A1 Flashes
Kingfisher, 20 Oystercatchers, 100 Curlew, 60 Wigeon.
Stoney Beck Lake
16 Whooper Swan flew in during the morning from the SE, 3 Buzzard up together, large group of Gulls including 4 L B Backs, 18 Stock Dove.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thursday 17th March 2011

An afternoon visit produced the following of note;

Castle Lake
6 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, 6 Shelduck, 1f Goldeneye, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Dunlin, 13 Redshank, 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5+ Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit & 2 Grey Partridge.

A1 Flashes
22 Oystercatcher.

Low Hardwick Carrs
Green Woodpecker heard & seen, 2 Willow Tit & 1pr Mute Swan.

Stoneybeck Lake
1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 3 Shelduck, 1pr Shoveler, c50 Curlew & 2 Redshank.

Green Woodpecker seen today at Low Hardwick (Only the second sighting in four years in the BM area for this observer).

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tuesday 15th March 2011

Castle Lake this afternoon produced the following;
6 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 32 Canada Geese, 2 Shelduck, 1m Shoveler, 1m2f Goldeneye, 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Oystercatcher, 7 Dunlin (5 flew off east at 1:15pm then 2 flew in from the south at 1:55pm), 13 Redshank and a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

A1 Flashes;
1pr Pintail & 20 Oystercatcher.

Two of the three Goldeneye on Castle Lake this afternoon. Male birds are much less frequent than the females.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)

Another poor quality picture of today's Med Gull at Stoneybeck Lake.

(Bishop Middleham Bird List No.132 Mediterranean Gull).

Sunday 13th March 2011

Reports today from myself and John Olley.

Castle Lake
6 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Cormorant, single Barnacle Goose, 4 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler, 1f Goldeneye, 5 Goosander, 25 Golden Plover over west, 18 Lapwing, 100 Curlew onto A1 Flashes, 16 Oystercatcher, 10+ Redshank, 4 Stock Dove, 4+ Skylark, 2+ Meadow Pipit over north, 2 Pied Wagtail & a male Reed Bunting.

A1 Flashes
6 Shoveler, Green Sandpiper & 2 Meadow Pipit over north.

Stoneybeck Lake
An adult Mediterranean Gull with an almost full black hood was found amongst the many Black-headed & Common Gull's; also seen were a Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, Grey Heron, 2 Shelduck, 8 Shoveler, 3 Common Buzzard soaring together just east of the lake, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank and various numbers of Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Curlew & Skylark.

Poor record shot of today's Med Gull.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Blowing a Hooley

A couple of hours at a very windy Castle Lake this morning where the following were of interest;

6 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Shelduck (with another pair on the A1 Flashes), 9 Oystercatcher & 62 Curlew.
No sign of any of the 11 Whooper Swan's reported from yesterday.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Monday, 7 March 2011

Wilson's Phalarope 2007

Video of the adult female Wilson's Phalarope that visited Castle Lake between 15th & 18th August 2007 with thanks to Paul Hindess.


Monday 7th March 2011

A case of quantity over quality today with the following seen on Castle Lake;

5 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Mute Swan, 56 Canada Geese, 5 Shelduck, 1f Goldeneye, 1 Sparrowhawk, 105+ Coot, 24 Oystercatcher (new site record?), 1 Dunlin, 130 Curlew, 7+ Redshank, 150 Black-headed Gull, 300 Common Gull & 3 Pied Wagtail.
Great Spotted Woodpecker & Treecreeper were noted along Foumarts Lane.

Curlew on Castle Lake this afternoon.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Saturday 5th March 2011

Birds seen today included the following;

Stoneybeck Lake
A report of approximately 20 Whooper Swan flying over early morning.

Castle Lake
Now 5 Great Crested Grebe present including a pair displaying, 8 Dunlin, 1pr Pintail, 1 Snipe & a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

A1 Flashes
drake Shoveler, 16 Oystercatcher and the wintering Green Sandpiper. 

Oystercatcher numbers continue to increase on the A1 Flashes.